News - August 31, 2011

Teens admit to arson at Woodside Elementary School

by Dave Boyce

Arson and vandalism at Woodside Elementary School over three days in early August have led deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office to make two arrests in a roundup of seven teens from the local community. Four live in Woodside, one in Portola Valley, one in Redwood City and one in unincorporated Redwood City, authorities said.

"All (the teens) admitted to one level or another of association and wrongdoing," Lt. Ray Lunny of the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said the arson incidents at Woodside Elementary School occurred between Aug. 5 and 8. The damage included scorch marks on the stage at the school's outdoor amphitheatre, fire damage to three plastic sliding boards in the playground, tire marks in the artificial turf field, and the word "painters" burned into the natural grass field, Lt. Lunny said.

All of the arson-related activities involved the use of gasoline, he said.

And their rationale? "Other than they've got nothing better to do, there is no known logical reason for their behavior," Lt. Lunny said.

Authorities are not releasing the teens' names because they are juveniles. Two attend Woodside High School and there is one each from Menlo School in Atherton, Castilleja (Girls) School in Palo Alto, Everest and Summit Prep charter high schools in Redwood City, and St. Francis High School in Mountain View, deputies said.

The teens range in age from 13 to 16, deputies said. Two are girls.

Details that led to the arrests came on Aug. 18 after questioning by the Redwood City police in connection with a traffic stop, an unlicensed driver, and youths reportedly using baseball bats to damage mailboxes in Redwood City, deputies said.

Two of the teens were booked into Hillcrest Juvenile Hall in San Mateo on charges of misdemeanor arson and vandalism, deputies said. The other five will be participating in the youth diversion program, which includes classes and community service, deputies said.

A parent has stepped in and paid for the damages, including a loss estimated at $13,500 in damage to the sliding boards, Lt. Lunny said. The incidents will not interrupt normal school activities at Woodside Elementary, he said.

The anonymous parent is also paying for a private security guard to patrol the school grounds, Lt. Lunny said.


Posted by Ramone, a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm

These kids parents have to feel really proud. Bunch of nitwit rich kids with no futures living off their loser parents nest egg.

First it's vandalism and arson than it's arson during the school day than it's blowing up the parents need to start doing your job and instill something good in their pea brains before they become adults. That's your job. Schools are not going to do that for you. Can't blame the ghetto E Palo kids can you?

Posted by To ramone, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Ramone now I think we all would agree that your comment is a little ridiculous and inflammatory. Every teen makes a mistake caused by the comfort in ones culture respectively. I think it's a roughly equal balance of opportunity to fail and chances to give into peer pressure and mob mentality in each kids surroundings, regardless of if they are from east palo alto or woodside. I think there is a healthy dose of that in the more fortunate areas of the peninsula given what money can buy(cars, weapons, and the false sense of security your parents lifestyle gives you from being caught by the police).

I guess you could write in the almanac and contribute misleading and unfactual rhetoric, or you could become part of the solution and stop being so obviously jealous of the woodside kids. And really?? You call fortune 500 principals and chairpeople losers? Is your idea of a non-loser success a drug dealer that doesn't get caught? Honestly, it disgusts me that you had to make such a comment as your last; blatantly letting everybody know your comment was not an unbiased contribution to the public domain --yet it was more just a really bad tasting anonymous online comment we see too much on the Internet these days.

If you're going to write in the almanac, have some class--given the circulation towns included by the almanac.

PS--you're lucky I don't have time to go off about how people from woodside don't comment on the comparable story of an east palo alto teen committing a crime and making it about your background and the parents because Im sure I don't even need to give mothers a voice who live in EPA and are trying their absolute hardest to stay n top of ther kids until they know the difference between right and wrong. even when it's a murder, which now seems silly to even be commenting on a story about some more fortunate kids who started a fire in woodside and flashing your 'teams colors' about it.

*Have some class*

Posted by time to think, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm're honestly going to stand behind the simple little comment you made about these kids who have no future? You REALLY want to hold true to that statement and check back in on those teens in 15 years? They'll probably be curing te disease you'll get in 10, as well as running the chain of coffeeshops you love to go to. Please keep trying to insult kids from woodside, considering you've been so successful up until this point.

And it's "THEN" when referring to the next object, not "THAN" which would be used in a sentence as such: I am taller "THAN" him.

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